What's a cave dweller to do?

If you follow me on Instagram you know that I went straight Gollum this month. Cole has me all wrinkly, wearing a diaper and challenging Hobbits to riddle-offs down in the bottom of a troll cave. Those damned Hobbitses keep rooking me out of my precious and I'm pretty sure things are going to come to fisticuffs unless Gandolf gives me magic and that amazing unicorn her rides in one of the movies, 

Just kidding, I just really wanted a reason to use fisticuffs in a sentence. 

But the cave part is legit. Last newsletter you guys got chapter 7 of Cole and Elle's story - a random experiment in writing short story smut that turned a little Frankensteiny. Today, I'm taking time out of bulldozing through 84k words on the newly titled Twisted Fate. While I am sorry to report, Cole's not making an appearance in this newsletter (you're going to have to meet Greyson instead) he's gonna be a book for you to splooge all over by the end of the year. 

I do have to say a massive thank you to you guys for hanging tough while I'm not nearly as amusing as usual. You guys are the bees!



  • Did someone say unicorn?
  • A big ole fat thank you!
  • $50 gift card
  • Family Business
  • Twisted Fate
  • Anthology Piece
  • Funny Face
  • Authors by the Beach
  • The Naughty Library
  • Mix and match
  • The Muse, Part 1
  • Read on with your bad selves
You may recognize this blue unicorn from earlier this month (or from Project Pabst cans - long story but I snapped a pic of a coaster at a bar then waxed poetic). If you do recognize it from my account and you read through this post, THANK YOU! If you took action by purchasing my books or going one step further and donating, I honestly don't know what to say. Your support for me and my friends you've never met and that aren't even remotely part of the book community, speaks to what awesome humans we have here. I am honored and humbled to call you all friends. I'm always here for you, you guys have already shown you're here for me.
I'm begging you for help. Down on my knees, templed handles, chanting and crying... The whole nine yards. On Amazon, Strictly Business has 28 reviews and Bad For Business only has 11. I'm going out on a limb and saying that more than 39 people read and liked my books. If you're one of them, particularly if you got an ARC (and said you would leave a a review), can you please, PLEASE write a review or leave a rating for my books? It doesn't have to be fancy or eloquent - they all are awesome and amazing to me. 

Everyone who leaves an AMAZON review in the month of September will be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift card to Amazon and a signed paperback of Family Business when it's finished. Just email or DM me a picture of your review when it's posted. The winner will be announced in the next newsletter. 

Oooooooo and maybe while you're there hit a couple of those fancy "yes, this review was helpful" buttons.

Thank you in advance for popping over and helping a chica out. I couldn't do this without you! Long distance slobber kisses!!!!!! 


I don't have an exact date for the release but it will be out by the time I go to Authors By The Beach October 22nd if it kills me. Good news, we're in final edits and will have a cover in September. This book is the last installment told from Kate's POV. It's also worth noting, not all endings are happy and not all endings are endings... 😈

Julie Andrews said it best, well sang it best (and you know how I feel about singing...) but LET'S START AT THE VERY BEGINNING. IT'S A VERY GOOD PLACE TO START. WHEN YOU READ YOU BEGIN WITH SB BFB, WHEN YOU SING YOU BEGIN WITH DO RE MI  🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶


You can always follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more deets!

Twisted Fate
(A Twisted Fairy Tale, Book 1)
Did you see this puppy? I mean it's the book to a T 🙌🏻 Dripping blood, dark and twisty, super sexy. Just. Like. Cole. 

Twisted Fate, A Twisted Fairy Tale * book one
What if fate is real? What if soulmates exist? What if the fairy tales do come true? One chance encounter is all it would take. Sitting next to each other on an airplane perhaps...

What if fate is cruel? What if your other half is your only weakness? What if the villains always win? One orgasm sealed it, one gunshot ends it. 

In case I don't have enough going on, I was asked to contribute a short, steamy piece to an upcoming romance anthology. I can't say too much yet, but the proceeds will go to charity and 🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻

Be prepared to meet sexy AF soccer player Graham Foster and Livy Owens, the pool playing ball buster with zero desire to date him. 

In honor of Graham's wooing shenanigans (and LD, because we ALL love him - even Graham) we have our first game! 

  • print page here
  • draw the most ridiculous face you can imagine
  • send it to me via DM
  • if it wins me over, I'll send you a $5 Amazon gift card
They're finally letting me play with the big dogs!
(aka come see me in LA in October)

The Naughty Library
The Naughty Library is plugging right along. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT! It definitely suffered from the whole Gollum schtick but I've recruited help and am getting a serious review effort underway. If you are interested in having your books reviewed, or reviewing the copies so generously contributed, email me here! Look for some awesome takeovers, event calendars and review sections to come in September. 

The voting for the logo also starts tomorrow. You can preview entries here. Look to buy you naughty swag here soon!!!

Something tells me no. Not enough "Highlights for Adults" yet... so let's play a little connect the dots. To the left we have Nicholas Bryant, Brooklyn Hart, Hayes Hutchinson, Milo Hart, Cole Ryan and Horse (aka the men in my life). To the right, we have their big ole beautiful dicks. Print this page here and DM me with your answers. If you get it right, get a $5 gift card for Amazon!
Meet Greyson in THE MUSE pt. 1

    This could not be happening. The only person I wanted to talk to less than my sister was my agent. It was inevitable they would call within 30 seconds of each other.

    All I wanted to do was sit at the bar and write. Okay, write wasn’t the best term—stare blankly at my laptop screen was much a much more apt description, but still... 
    Writers block had consumed me for damn near six months now and it was slowly sucking my will to live. Answering my agent’s calls and questions regarding the topic was likely to kill me. Soon. The longer it went on, the more I decided it was like being stuck in quicksand, slowly sinking, chest gradually constricting while simultaneously banging my head repeatedly against very thick, very rough concrete.

    I reluctantly reached for the phone, letting out the biggest, loudest, world weary sigh as I drug my finger painfully slow across the touchscreen. "Hello?" I croaked.

    "Hey kiddo!"

    "Suzanna, please don't call me kiddo."

    "Oh sure kiddo, anything for you." Every damn time. "Got any new pages to send me?"  Our phone ritual was complete. Every call I'd taken from her, since my first book went to number one on the New York Times Bestseller list, started exactly the same way. I don't know why I bothered saying anything anymore.

    “No new pages Suzanna,” I groaned.

    “Are you in that infernal bar again?”

    “Yes, Suzanna,” I sounded like a petulant child and I knew it.

    “It’s no wonder you can’t focus. There’s hundreds of people, those TVs, that and that damn clanging bell every time they change a keg. Go outside. Now. This isn’t a courtesy call, it’s a coming to Jesus.”

    I thought long and hard about it. I’d already been chastised by my sister, Petra, today. You need a real job Harlow. You were an intelligent kid. You should have made something of yourself by now. Being a wildly successful author with a National Book Award wasn’t successful by Petra’s definition. Specially since I was in a bar at 2pm on a Tuesday rather than a courtroom. And now Suzanna was going to add her two cents. 

    I slid, dejected, off my barstool and started out front. I nodded to Deanna behind the bar, silently asking her to watch my laptop. 

    “I’m outside Suzanna.” In the fucking rain. It always rained in Portland in January. I usually loved it, perfect writing weather, but with writer’s block, I loathed the damn stuff. Every drop reminded me how words still were not coming.  

    “Thank you kiddo.” I rolled my eyes while she just kept on trucking. “Look I’m starting to worry about you Harlow. No new writing in at least six months. I’m not blowing smoke up your ass when I tell you that you are the most talented writer our agency manages. You made serious money with the Cheska Bound series and then you turn around and write erotica that redefines the genre. You get compared to the greatest authors in literature, are named a voice of your generation and then receive a National Book Award. There are next to no authors that can pull off both consumer and critical acclaim.”

    “Well thanks Suzanna.” I thought we were having a coming to Jesus.

    “The thing is kiddo,” ah, here we go, “you’re wasting all of it. You’re wasting time and money and your name and most importantly your relevancy. Those royalty checks are going to keep coming in but they are going to slowly diminish. They’re already down 27% from last year.” I knew they had been lower but hearing it quantified blew. “If you’re not careful you’re going to lose that pretty little penthouse of yours.”    

    “I don’t know what to write Suzanna,” I whined. Everyone else saw my accolades as a blessing. To me they were a massive, black, thundering cloud of a curse.  

    “Well stop drinking beer in the middle of the day. Or whiskey. Or bourbon for that matter, and put pen to paper. Find some inspiration.”

    “If it were that easy…” 

    “Okay so it’s not easy for everyone but I know damn well it’s that easy for you.” She interrupted and started into a squawking crescendo. Almost like she knew she needed to shout over the hammering raindrops and the hammering in my head. “If you’re so blocked up then reconsider the film options.”

    “No.” I was sharp, hoping never to reopen that discussion.

    “Harlow,” she sighed exasperated, “you are the least business savvy author I have ever taken on. You should look at movie options as a blessing. Someone wants to pay millions of dollars for the rights to your ideas. They want to shove your name up in bright lights and introduce you to A-list celebrities. This is not an unfortunate, awful offer.”

    “Suzanna, no movie ever does the book justice. You need a longer format, something more in depth to ever begin to convey the depth of a book.” I was going to stay strong on this point.

    “Well darling, I was hoping you would say that. I have a new deal on the table. HBO wants to make your short stories into a miniseries. If you like it and want to write more, they’ll make it into a full-blown series. They want you to be a screenwriter on the project. They’ll assemble a team of your choosing and head it all up from Portland. They’ll even film there if it means that much to you.”

    “Wait, what?” Why on earth would they do that for me?

    “This will take the pressure off your writing. Let you draft something you’re happy with and keep that pretty little roof over your head.”

    “I don’t know…” Suzanna’s financial warning mixed with Petra’s disappointment from earlier was enough make me hesitate.

    “At least take a meeting kiddo. If you don’t like what he has to say, shoot him down in fiery flames like you do every other offer and move on.”

    “I guess I could hear what he has to say…”  

    “Oh, kiddo, good, he’ll be at that bar in five minutes.” With that she hung up.

    She tricked me! My stomach churned. I was awkward with other people. Even more so when I didn’t have time to prepare. Or if I got nervous. Shit!  

    I slunk back into the bar. Deanna locked eyes with me as soon as got past the host stand. I must have looked pitiful, dejected or both because she shoved a beer at me across the server’s pass through. I slammed it without hesitation. She smiled, ignoring the tourists holding out their credit cards and poured me another. When she handed it to me she leaned in close, pushing her bobbed brown hair out of her excited dark brown eyes.  

    “Guuuurl, whatever you’re pissed about, let it go. Real damn quick. Look at what found it’s way to your table.” She nodded to where I’d left my laptop and the man that hovered there.

    Oh holy fuck. 

   I knew that face as well as I knew my own, even though I’d never met him. I’d studied every detail, in every pose, with scruff, without. With long hair, with short.  Shirtless, pantless… I was blushing furiously and trying not to choke on my tongue. Didn’t Deanna recognize who he was? Various pictures of him had been the home screen, lock screen and desktop wallpaper on all my devices while writing Cheska.  

    No, no, no.
    If possible I turned a even darker shade of red when I realized, in a desperate attempt to combat writer’s block, I had pulled out all my old photos a week or so ago. I’d even plastered a big, black and white shirtless image of him back across my laptop screen. An image he was now studying.

    Worst. Day. Ever. I wanted to curl up and die.

    The only thing that kept me from going back out into the rain, saying screw it, as I stepped in front of the streetcar was that for the first time I could study the living, breathing version of him. 

    He wore fitted dark blue jeans, perfectly cuffed over chocolate brown boots. He had a gray, wool jacket slung over his arm. His friggin’ perfectly sculpted arm. He had a thin, white v-neck t-shirt covering his obviously sculpted chest and a slouchy beanie covering the brown hair I knew was up there. His bright blue eyes were focused on my Mac, on him, and an unfamiliar smile played on his full lips.  

    I hadn’t realized Deanna had circled the bar until she shoved me away from the counter and back towards my table. The heels I never wore made me look even more clumsy than I really was, helping me somehow roll my ankle and skid across the concrete floor all at the same time. I scrambled to grab onto anything and was marginally grateful that I caught my table, rather than him.  

    “Are you ok?” His voice wasn’t as dark and dangerous as I had written it. It was soft and sensual instead, trickling down my spine, leaving goosebumps in it’s wake.  

    “It’s raining.” They were the only words that decided to vomit out of my mouth.

    Oh my god. Harlow you are an idiot.  

    “I can see that.” I thought he was referencing the massive glass garage door that was the front wall of the building but then I noticed his chin nod. His eyes were locked on my t-shirt. My t-shirt that suggested I was coed on spring break rather than a sane human being. When did I get drenched? My hands flew across my chest to cover and my skin turned what had to be a spectacular shade of red.

    I had a sweater, just out of reach on the barstool behind him but if I grabbed it, I’d give myself away as the computer owner. When I realized I hadn’t worn a bra my eyes bugged and I scrambled.

      Really can’t salvage this anyway.

    “Are these your things?” He nodded again, this time to the computer and my worn leather satchel. His eyes hadn’t stopped evaluating me. Watching the monkeys at the zoo with my nieces came to mind. And set me on the defensive.  

    “No, I’m stealing sweater jackets from some poor, unsuspecting soul instead of the new MacBook Air sitting there.” I shrugged into the sweater and pulled it just as tight around me as my arms had been wrapped before. He smirked and chuckled ever so softly at me.  

    “It’s Portland. I could see it.” He shrugged, still smiling. 

    I couldn’t muster a response. What the hell would I say anyway? I reached for my laptop and my bag, shifting them in front of me and away from him. 

    “Nice desktop picture.”

    I went scarlet, up to the very tips of my ears and shrunk down into the collar of my white, furry knit.

    “Oh come on, don’t loose that spark.” He arched his brow and focused on where I was chewing my lip.  

    “It’s not what you think,” my voice was rough.

    “I think it’s a picture of me, half naked, on your laptop.” His eyes stayed intently on my lips.  

    “Ok, well it is that. But it’s still not…well…it’s more…fuck.” I tripped over my tongue the way I had over my heels when Deanna pushed me. He laughed loudly and the sound shot straight through me and settled between my legs. The fact that he was laughing at me compelled me to find a full sentence. Well actually a defense. “I’m a writer, sort of, sometimes, ugh.” I grunted frustrated and threw my hands up, “when I wrote my first three novels that picture, among others of yours were inspiration. I’m having a tough time writing anything new so I pulled out all the shit from my first three novels.”  

    That stopped his laughter. He cocked his head to the side and even his chest flexed under his thin tee as he shifted. It was so obviously not what he expected, so he sat watching me, curious, again.  

    “What’s the name of your book?”

    Oh shit no. I could not have him read those pornographic scenes knowing I pictured him while writing them. I felt the splotches of red spread all the way down to my toes.  

    “Doesn’t matter.”

    “Sure it does. If I’m a muse I deserve to know of what.” He was back staring at where I gnawed on my lip. “Perhaps your name?”  

    “Harlow,” that was safe. I was published under a pen name.  

    “Nice to meet your Harlow, I’m Greyson.” He didn’t reach out his hand. I don’t know if I would have taken it. Instead he looked me up and down, painfully slow from head to toe.

    “Hey Harls, there’s a guy up front asking about you. He’s downright dreamy. I swear to God I’ve seen him in a movie.” Faulkner walked right up to the table and smacked my ass. “If you don’t get him a beer, I sure as hell will.” Faulkner had his eyebrows cocked at me till he caught sight of Greyson. “Oh my God, you kill me Harls. Soooooo jealous. I always say if I had a vagina I’d use it morning, noon and night, all across the land. Seems like you beat me to it.”

    “Fuck you.” What I wanted to say was thank God for you. He was the only reason I'd been able to peel my eyes from Greyson. 

    “Fuck you, you slut.” He smiled so widely he had to know. “Are you getting that hottie a drink or should I?” He turned without waiting for my answer.  

    “It was…interesting Greyson. If you’ll excuse me.” He looked me up and down one more time and then turned to the bar. He found a stool and ordered a beer from Deanna. I could see her looking over to me to get a thumbs up or thumbs down. I simply shrugged.  

    The flock of people choking the small walkway by the host stand drew my attention. Smack in the middle was Faulkner. I saw him point to me and my table from the front. When the crowd parted ever so slightly, I couldn’t decide if I was more angry with Faulkner or Suzanna. One of them surely could have given me the heads up that this mysterious actor was none other than Liam Flynn.

    Definitely worst day of my life.  

    I didn’t know if the blinking cursor on my dormant laptop, Petra’s shrieking, Suzanna’s scolding or Greyson’s, well Greyson period, trumped meeting Liam Flynn unprepared, but I sure as hell wished I didn’t have to find out.

    “Cleary? Cleary Lennox?” Liam reached his hand out for mine while Faulkner made obscene gestures behind his shoulder.

   I’ll kill him.

    I took Liam’s hand feeling so many pairs of eyes on me, including Greyson watching from his barstool. That scarlet splotched around my collar under the scrutiny. I tried to pretend it was the multitude of attention but really it was just one pair of bright blue eyes. Ignore him. I had to focus. I didn’t want Liam Flynn thinking I was a moron.

    “Mr. Flynn, pleased to meet you.” 

    “Cleary, the pleasure is all mine,” he smiled warmly. “I have to admit that you are not what I expected.”

    “Oh?” He was much more relaxed that I would have guessed. My eyes met his and I managed a smile, not feeling nearly as neurotic as I had a few moments ago.

    “Well I guess I think of romance novelists as being older, heavyset and having lots of cats.”

    “Gee, thanks. Not only have you diminished my writing but my entire genre in a matter of seconds.” I was a little piqued but I also kind of enjoyed giving him a hard time. He smiled and hung his head. He kept his head down but looked up at me from under long eyelashes.

    “I forgot to add that I’m incredibly pleased to be wrong. You’re gorgeous.”

    Did Liam Flynn just call me gorgeous? The blush was back, the patches of red popping up even across my cheekbones. Liam cleared his throat and looked back down at the floor. If I wasn’t mistaken, there was a little bit of flush at his collar. I sighed.

    “Well you’re not so bad yourself.” I smiled when he looked up and gestured for him to sit. Deanna was there immediately, introducing herself and explaining every beer on the menu. Deanna’s chatter gave me a chance to study him. Liam had a crooked smile, broad shoulders covered with a blazer and fitted trousers. His hair was blonde and short, and would become unruly curls if he let it grow. He was strong but not overly tall, I guessed maybe six foot on a good day. His brown eyes twinkled when he looked up to catch mine or Deanna’s gaze.  

    Deanna was still entertaining Liam when my eyes drifted over to where Greyson was sitting. I hadn’t meant to, it was the direction of the TVs after all, only to find Greyson’s eyes locked on me a wholly unreadable expression back on his face. I remembered the whole monkey-at-the-zoo feeling from earlier, blushed and snapped my attention back to my table as Deanna passed by and whispered “cuuuuute” in my ear.  

    Liam was surprisingly soft spoken and easy to talk to. He told me about his family, childhood and getting into acting. He seemed a little unsure of himself despite his fame. The longer I watched him, and his interaction with fans, I could tell he wasn’t comfortable with the publicity. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing he was a kindred spirit.  

    When we ordered another round my eyes shifted, looking for Greyson. He was gone. It felt like someone had grabbed my heart and squeezed. Hard. For a moment, I couldn’t breathe, all the color drained from my skin.

    “Cleary are you ok?” He sounded like he was speaking underwater. Until I noticed a beer, overturned coaster on top. I let out a deep breath and felt my shoulders relax.

    “Yeah. Fine. Sorry.” I smiled at the empty chair and tried to cover up the shortness in my answer.

    As soon as the second round arrived we got down to business. Liam was concise and articulate as he made his pitch. I tried not to roll my eyes. He was laying it on thick, obviously having done a lot of Googling about me. Every second he rattled on about me, about why we’d be a good fit, I felt more self conscious. I tried not to blush or cringe as different facts or questions came up. Please don’t let the bad stuff be out on the internet. I breathed a sigh of relief when he told me HBO had dared him to get me on board. Back in safe territory. 

    The second tension melted from my bones, my eyes let the spot on the table they’d been boring into and shifted around the bar. I couldn’t help when they flitted back to where Greyson had left his beer. Please be sitting there, please be sitting there. I held my breath till I took in his muscled back arched over the counter. I lost my breath again when I realized every contour of his muscles was outlined through that white t-shirt while he sat reading. Reading? I smiled. I always like people who read books in bars.  

    He shifted slightly while I watched and the corner of the cover popped up. I knew that cover. It was as etched in my brain as he was. That’s mine. How the fuck did he find it?  Not that they were hard to come by, most were usually outfacing books at any bookstore but he hadn’t known what, or even who to look for. 

    I went white as a sheet as I realized he was a decent way into it. Whether he read fast or had flipped ahead he was definitely already reading about the many ways Jackson Shepherd tethered and fucked Cheska Worthington. Every fantasy I’d had about him tethering and fucking me started on page 57. 102 pages ago. I could barely swallow.

    “Cleary is everything ok? You look like you’ve seen a ghost.” Liam’s voice pulled me from the pages filled with bedroom sheets and back to the darkly wooded bar.  

    “I…uh…fine,” I managed, “I’m fine. Sorry.”

    “Is it the proposal? I know you’re averse to selling the rights to any of your work. You’re kind of notorious for it.” He chuckled and the soft, sweet sound helped me recover further.  “I knew it was an uphill battle but I flew to Portland completely willing to fight it.”

    “Mr. Flynn…”

    “Liam, please,” he interrupted, “regardless of what happens with the rights I’d like count you among my friends. My friends call me Liam.”

    “Sorry, Liam,” I bit my lip, worried I was finally going to blow the entire meeting, “I have to admit I got a little lost in my own head there. Sometimes that just happens and I don’t even realize it.” Even without Greyson around it was true. This was my go-to excuse since everyone knew I would slip into the recesses of my own mind all the time; imagining all sorts of storylines, dialog and kinky scenes when I had a novel concept.

    And this concept is good. I gulped and my eyes went wide. I wasn’t feeding Liam a line, I’d started building a conflict scene in my head without even realizing it. Oh thank fuck!

    Liam smiled wide at my admission and at the way my mind started to wander again.  “I’ve been around creative types all my life. I certainly understand.” I that words and scenes were bubbling up in me after such a long draught that I flashed my biggest most genuine smile. I was vaguely aware that it made Liam sucked in a deep breath.  

    “Will you excuse me I have to run to the restroom. When I come back I want to hear all about the project.” I couldn’t keep excitement from coloring my voice. Or the spring in my step as I rounded the stone fireplace and headed towards the restroom.  I snatched a napkin and was looking for a pen at the server’s station as Deanna grabbed me.

    “What are you doing to that poor man?” She shot me her most disapproving look.

    “What are you talking about?” I would have been confused even if I wasn’t a jittery ball of emotion.  

    “You smiled at him.” Am I missing something?


    “THE smile.” Her eyes got big and dramatic when she said it.

    “Oh,” my face squinched.  

    The smile she was talking about, the huge, genuine smile, frequently bowled people over. Deanna and Faulkner had done their best to explain it to me once. They told me my whole face changes. My eyes twinkle gold instead of green and my lips somehow get fuller. One dimple would hollow on my left cheek and my jaw would seem softer. Faulkner, despite being gay, had added that the way my tongue was ever so noticeable between my teeth couldn’t help but make a man, any man, imagine his cock nestled right there. 

    “I certainly didn’t mean to do that.”

    “Explain,” she was abrupt, still watching Liam on the stool and the bar she should be tending over her shoulder.  

    “I have something to write!” I couldn’t help but smile, that smile, again. I saw a random man on the way to the bathroom stutter step. Shit. Deanna rolled her eyes at both things. “Give me a pen.” I reached my hand out and waited. She slammed the pen down and narrowed her gaze at me. 

    “You have a movie star at your table, floored, and you’re going to go hide in the bathroom to jot down a scene?”

     I answered her by turning and running down the hall to the heavy frosted door to do just that.

    It only took me a few minutes to get the outline down. I forced myself to shove the napkin in my pocket before I actually started writing the whole thing. Dialogue swirled in my head and I hated the feeing something was preventing me from getting the words down on paper, but I focused on how amazing it was to have characters running lines in my head again period.

    I threw Deanna’s pen back at her and caught a glimpse of Greyson, still reading. His full lips were moving ever so slightly, mimicking the words that rolled through his head. His brow was arched and his long fingers were pressed against his temple, supporting his head in that crooked position. My chest constricted and I was almost knocked off balance but then the strangest thing happened. I could picture the next scene in my unwritten book. Just from studying the lines of his face. Oh. My. God. Greyson was still my muse.

    My knees wobbled and I sat down quickly to hide it. Liam smiled widely at my return and jumped back into conversation like nothing had happened.

   Nothing had happened for him. I had broken a six month old barrier and realized that the reason was sitting 15 feet away. I wanted to scream and smile and a million other things all at once. Instead I used every ounce of strength I had to refocus on the pitch.

    My brow crinkled and a smirk danced on my lips. New life coursed through my veins and I had no doubt it radiated. Liam watched me closely as I threw off my sweater and leaned in. I realized too late that my shirt was still too clingy. My eyes flashed to an absorbed Greyson as Liam focused and repeated his sentence.

     I forgot what it felt like to feel decent.

    We ordered another round, his third and my seventh. It must have been the excessive amount of alcohol mixed with the pure elation that had me seriously considering the project.

    “We could discuss it further over dinner?” Liam pulled me from my slightly hazy considerations. 

    “Dinner…um…I can’t.” I bit my lip again. “It’s just that I write best at night, after a couple of beers and well, it’s night, and I’ve had a couple of beers.” I shrugged my shoulders and giggled. Liam smiled and had to stop his hand from reaching to my thigh. “If you’re still in town tomorrow, how about brunch?”

    “Of course I’m in town tomorrow.” He laughed loud enough that people stopped to look at us. I cringed as he continued, “I’m in town till you agree to do this with me.” I should have rolled my eyes or rebuffed him in some way for implying that this was a sure thing. I just couldn’t bring myself to be snarky right now. “Cleary,” he shuffled off his stool.

    “Harlow,” I interrupted. “Sorry I didn’t say sooner. My pen name is Cleary Lennox. Only my friends know my real name, and since we’re going to be friends…” I let my voice trail off and I playfully shrugged my shoulders.

    “Harlow. That’s beautiful. Why on earth would you pick a pen name when that’s your real name?” 

    “It’s a long story for another day.” My face squinched knowing it was far too late and far too depressing to get into Petra’s issues now.

    “Well Harlow, can I escort you somewhere to begin said writing?” Liam had thrown down a $100 bill and reached his hand out for mine. Tipping well and being a gentlemen was appealing but I stayed planted.

    “As tempting as the offer is Liam. This is exactly where I like to write. It’s what I had planned on doing when Suzanna shoved this meeting on me.”

    “Shoved the meeting on you?”  

    “I had a five minute warning you were coming. Interrupted a wicked case of writer’s block actually.” I smirked at the plot still weaving through my mind. “Thank you for being so diverting.” I laughed loud and flashed the smile again. This time I saw physically take him aback.


    “Brunch tomorrow then,” he turned, looking lost in thought and headed for the front.

    “Liam,” I called and shuffled after him. I caught him by the arm and spun him. He looked down at me, thinly veiled hunger lacing his eyes. “Noon at Tasty.” I chuckled as I turned him back towards the front door and gave him a slight nudge to send him on his way. 

    I noticed Greyson, still on a barstool, still reading my book. Almost no pages were left on the right. Oh god he’s almost at the scene with the handcuffs and the butt plug. I moved as fast as the crowded bar would let me, past him and back to my seat. The plotchy red patches were flaring on my chest as I pictured the scene from the book.  

    If he were reading it the way I had imagined it, I would be naked on a bed, blindfolded.  Each wrist handcuffed to matching ankle, my body balled tightly and ass up in the air. He would be kneeling behind me, also naked, and evaluating the body before him. Eventually his strong hands would come between my thighs and shove my legs wide. He’d reached for my long dark hair and brush it away from my turned face. A tender gesture just before he shoved his lubed finger harshly and unrelenting into my tightly puckered backside.

    I shook my head trying to erase the image from my mind. When I plopped back on my barstool I could tell how wet even 30 seconds of fantasizing had made me. Now sex scenes were barreling through my brain. One kinky set up after another. I forced myself to settle down and start writing at the beginning.

    As soon as my fingers started flying on the keys Deanna brought me another beer.  She knew me well enough to know that I was off and running. I was not to be disturbed and I was to be kept well hydrated.  

    It had to be around beer 10 that Greyson reappeared. I hadn’t even noticed until there were two hands on either side of my laptop, two roped arms grazing my shoulders and a muscled chest pressing against my back.  

    “I inspired that?” He questioned like we were continuing a conversation from just a moment ago.

    “Huh?” I was having a hard time pulling my concentration from my laptop even though it was him pressed up against me. 

    He pulled my book from his back pocket and palmed it down on the table next to my laptop.  “I inspired the things in this book?” His long finger pointed down to the cover, his arms still tightly wound around me. I finally pulled my attention from the computer and shifted to look at him.  

    His nose was almost touching mine when I turned. His eyes were a blazing blue, focused completely on mine, his lips were parted ever so slightly. I had to resist the urge to lean forward and take them with mine. “Answer me Harlow.”

    “Yes,” I arched my neck away from him when I answered.  

    “I think I owe you a drink.” He swiftly moved from my body to the barstool next to me. I lifted my half full beer, indicating that I didn’t need one. Greyson took the glass from my hand and put the beer back in one swift chug. “Can I buy you one now?” I was drunk enough that I giggled and nodded.

    He watched me silently until our drinks arrived. When Deanna set the beers down, she eyed both of us skeptically. Greyson paid no attention, instead lifting his glass. “A toast to Harlow Fields for being a fucking talented writer.” I flushed at the compliment, not even realizing he’d somehow discovered my actual last name too. He chugged a decent portion of his beer and I followed suit.  

    “Did you imagine me doing those things to Cheska or to you?” He was so blunt I choked on the last little bit of beer in my throat.

    “Excuse me?” I finally managed.

    “I asked, did you imagine me fucking an imaginary character or did you imagine me fucking you when you wrote it?”

    There was a downright wicked gleam in his eye. I thought about how to answer. What would I say? Could I even answer? As in, could I find the ability to speak and get words out period? I thought about how my mind had wandered over the old fantasies not an hour or two ago. I swallowed, realizing I’d turned that lovely shade of scarlet again. “Harlow answer me.”

    Beer took over. “You, fucking me.”  

    “Good.” His smile widened and he finished his beer. 

Copyright © 2016 Ace Gray Author, All rights reserved.

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